Anti-Gay idiots are boycotting Doritos and the Crash the Super Bowl contest

Taste the Rainbow
Taste the Rainbow!

In 2012 Mike Huckabee was a semi-serious contender for the republican nomination.  But people aren’t really buying his God-Guns-Grits-and-Gravy shtick anymore.  Huckabee is once again running for president but this time he’s polling at just 3%.  Desperate times call for desperate measures so Huckabee is trying to stay relevant (or at least on TV) by picking a fight over a few thousand bags of rainbow colored Doritos.

Huckabee (who seems like more a pork rind man) is upset because Frito-Lay teamed up with the It Gets Better Project which supports LGBT youth.  If you donated $10 the company would send you a bag of super-limited edition Rainbow Doritos.  (The bags have all been claimed but you can still donate here.)  It was a cute little stunt that was meant to help a very worthy cause but gays are icky so Huckabee is calling on Christians to boycott all Frito-Lay products.

Of course Huckabee can’t come right out and tell people to boycott a company that wants to keep gay teenagers from committing suicide.  So he’s using sex columnist Dan Savage as an excuse.  Savage and his husband created the first “It Gets Better” video in 2010.  Dan Savage has said some pretty gross (but insightful and funny) stuff about hardcore anti-gay Christian politicians like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. So Huckabee sent a letter to Frito-Lay’s board of directors that said, in part:

“It is beyond me to understand how a responsible corporation would think that partnering with someone who spews the vicious vitriol that Savage does would be worthy of your corporate contributions.”

He went on to say that the board should listen to this (NSFW!) audio clip and decide if Savage represents their company’s values.  And if they still want to work with It Gets Better then “the Christian community needs to be made aware that Frito-Lay has decided to not seek their business.”

But the Dan Savage stuff is just a smokescreen.  It Gets Better was inspired by Savage’s video but the project has taken on a life of its own.  It’s now a major charitable organization and I don’t think Dan Savage actually has much to do with how it’s run.

Huckabee’s fans clearly understand that this boycott isn’t really about one guy.  These people knew Huckabee wanted to punish a company for putting a rainbow on their bag.  So a few hundred slacktavists jumped on facebook and started posting a bunch of hateful stuff about gays on Doritos’ facebook page.  Doritos keeps posting about the Crash the Super Bowl contests so these posts are being targeted by nutballs who hate Dan Savage the fact that gay people exist.  So posts like this….

crashthesuperbowl-facebook

Are filled with comments like these…

doritos-facebook-wall

I have to hand it to Doritos.  No pun intended but it’s pretty bold to leave all these ugly comments on their facebook page.  All this hate demonstrates exactly why we still need organizations like It Gets Better.

As for the Crash the Super Bowl contest, I doubt any of this garbage will have much of an effect on it.  The people making jokes about “gayritos” and “queer commercials” probably don’t have the brain power necessary to create a decent 30 second ad.  Plus slacktavists have really short memories.  A lot of these folks will probably forget all about their “BOYCOTT!!!!!” in a few weeks.

 

5 unwritten rules of the Crash the Super Bowl contest

It seems like the vast majority of people who enter the Crash the Super Bowl contest never bother to read the rules.  Over the past 6 years I’ve watched thousands of homemade Doritos ads and I’m constantly amazed by the flagrant rule violations I see.

But the official rules aren’t the only criteria you need to worry about.  You also need to comply with the un-written rules of the contest.  For instance, “sexy” Super Bowl ads have really fallen out of fashion.  The CTSB rules don’t explicitly say that your entry should be PG-rated but it’s been 6 years since Doritos picked a finalist that included a scantily clad character.  Technically you CAN feature a little sexual content or innuendo in your video but history shows us that an entry like this will have almost zero chance of making it to the finals:



That wasn’t the slickest or wittiest CTSB ad I’ve ever seen but I gotta admit, it make me laugh.  But entries need to be funny AND good for all ages.  Here now are 4 more common Crash the Super Bowl mistakes that you should avoid this year:

Cultural Insensitivity:  The rules state that entries “must not contain defamatory statements or messages (including but not limited to words, images, or symbols) that are widely considered offensive to individuals of a certain race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic or other group.”   So entries that are straight-up racist will be disqualified.  But you also need to worry about creating something that might offend people in more subtle ways.  Everyone knows that blackface is wrong but it’s always a bad idea to cast actors of one race or culture to play characters from a different race or culture.  This entry will demonstrate what I’m talking about:




The director of this ad cast a group of blonde white kids to play a tribe of spear-wielding savages.  The kids’ costumes resemble the clothing and facepaint that some tribes of the Amazon use.  (The aerial shot of the jungle even looks like the Amazon.)  The people who created this entry would probably argue that this story takes place in a fantasy world and that the kids do not represent any real life people.  But the winner of this contest doesn’t get an extra 60 seconds of air time to explain his concept.  So before you shoot an idea you need to ask yourself “could this commercial offended anyone, anywhere in the entire world?”  I know that might sound extreme but you’re not making a short film here; you’re making a TV commercial.  If you want to get edgy or push boundaries you should entry SXSW, not the CTSB contest.

BLOOD!!  BLOOD EVERYWHERE!!:  I would estimate that Doritos will receive at least 200 zombie-themed commercials this year.  But entries like this one will quietly be disqualified because they’re too gory to air…


That wasn’t exactly a masterpiece but I wanted to feature this ad for a reason.  Teenager filmmakers usually try and come up with an idea that will be cheap to make and that can feature all of their friends.  And that’s why Doritos gets dozens and dozens of zombie videos every year.  But most teenagers aren’t highly-skilled make up artists so when they want to dress up like zombies they just put on some old clothes and slather themselves in halloween make up and fake blood.

But here’s the problem, you can’t really show blood in TV commercials anymore.  Even movie trailers have to desaturate blood so that it looks like brown gravy.  So even though the rules don’t mention blood, the judges know that the network can’t air a bloody commercial during the Super Bowl.

Overloading your ad: Writing a tight, funny, exciting, interesting story that’s only 30 seconds long is really freakin’ hard.  A lot of CTSB filmmakers try and jam way too much stuff into their entries; and by “stuff” I mean story, characters, jokes and action.  These overloaded ads zip by way too fast and leave the viewer dizzy and confused.  Here’s an entry with a funny premise but it’s so busy and overwhelming that it should come with a seizure warning.



A professional editor probably would have cut out the first 6 seconds of this ad so that the later shots could have some time to breath.  If you feel like your entry might be too busy, show it to some friends and ask if it went by too fast.  If it’s too fast for your friends, it’s too fast for TV.

Dipping Doritos:  Ok, this final mistake is a little more obscure but I do see it a few times a year.  Apparently there are actually people out there who don’t understand how to eat Doritos because some Crash the Super Bowl ads include jokes about dip…..



For the love of God people, you don’t dip Doritos!  Doritos are already delicious on their own!  The rules don’t say that you can’t dip  these chips but Frito-Lay would never air a commercial that advocated this type of snack abuse.

When will Doritos announce the 2016 Crash the Super Bowl contest?

The Crash will be back soon....better start training your dog now.
The Crash will be back soon….better start training your dog now.

Did you know that web traffic dips sharply in the summertime?  Isn’t that nice?  It means that millions of people are shutting off their computers and going to beaches and BBQs and Burning Men festivals.  For most of the summer VCN only gets about 2,000 page views a week.  But every year like clockwork that number shoots up during the 2nd week in August.

I just checked my web stats and the annual traffic phenomenon is once again in progress.  This late summer spike is always caused by the same thing; The Crash the Super Bowl contest.  Once summer starts to wind down, thousands of Doritos fans simultaneously realize that it’s almost time for FritoLay to announce the new installment of The Crash.  I’m not really sure why this happens.  Maybe people start thinking about football and that causes them to think about the Super Bowl and that makes them think about the contest?  Well, if you’re one of those aforementioned Doritos fans and if you’ve been scouring the web for details about this year’s contest, you’ve come to the right place.  Here are a few A’s for your Frequently Asked Q’s….

Q:  Will the Crash the Super Bowl contest happen again this year?

A:  Yes.  There hasn’t been a formal announcement but I’ve heard from multiple sources that the Crash will be back this fall.  In fact, it will probably be the biggest CTSB contest yet since 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the first Crash.

Q:  When will Doritos announce the contest?

A:  The company usually announces the return of the contest in early/mid-September.

Q:  When does the contest actually begin?

A:  The full details of The Crash are revealed in early October.  Doritos starts accepting entries the same day the rules are announced.

Q:  When is the Crash the Super Bowl deadline?

A:  The deadline is usually a few days before Thanksgiving.

Q:  Should I start working on my entry now!?!?

A:  No!  For Glob’s sake wait until the rules are announced!  You never know….this year Doritos might ask for entries that only feature Cool Ranch chips.  So just chill out for a few more weeks; Doritos season will be here before you know it….

Did CBS just kill the 2016 Crash the Super Bowl contest?

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Above: A small business owner buys a 30-second super bowl ad for his car wash

It’s only been about 6 weeks since Doritos announced the grand prize winner of the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest but filmmakers are already contacting me and asking for information about the 2016 competition.  I always tell people that it’s a bad idea to shoot an entry in the spring because there’s always a chance that FritoLay could change the rules or decide to retire the promotion.

And at this point, I would say that the odds that Doritos will run the Crash again this year are only about 50-50.  The quality of the entries has gone down and the concept doesn’t really feel fresh any more.  And neither one of this year’s Doritos commercials were especially popular.  Middle Seat got some buzz because it won the Million Dollar Grand Prize but the runner-up ad, When Pigs Fly was immediately forgotten by the public.  On top of that, FritoLay has started to produce their own Doritos commercials again.  I think that’s a sign that we may be moving into a post-CTSB era because for years Doritos would only air ads that won their annual commercial contest.

So I think the Crash’s days are numbered.  I figured FritoLay would probably run it one more time since 2016 marks the 10 year anniversary of the first installment of the contest.  But the President and CEO of CBS, Les Moonves, may have recently killed the contest for good.  CBS will be airing the big game next year and according to The Daily Mail, the network plans to raise the price of a 30-second Super Bowl ad from $4.5 Million to $5 to 6 Million.

Six Million dollars would be a 30% increase and ad exes are already complaining that the price tag is way too high.  If CBS sticks with these numbers, major brands will probably have to skip the Super Bowl or at least cut back on the number of ads they buy.  That means the folks over at FritoLay will have to decide if the Crash the Super Bowl contest is still worth the money.  When they first launched the contest, a 30-second super bowl ad only cost $2.5 Million dollars.  But this year, ad slots were selling for $4.5 Million a piece.  I’m going to guess that big companies like FritoLay get a healthy discount for buying multiple ad slots but still, it does seem kinda crazy to spend ten to twelve million bucks to air two mediocre commercials that each cost less than $1,000 to produce.

So do I really think the Crash the Super Bowl contest is going to be cancelled this year?  Eh…probably not.  But I have a feeling the sponsor will have to scale things back for 2016.  Instead of running the Grand Prize winner and the runner-up, they’ll probably only show the commercial that wins the online vote.

“Middle Seat” and “When Pigs Fly” win the 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest!

With four minutes left to go, Super Bowl XLIX is still a nail-biter.  But the 2014-2015 installment of the Crash the Super Bowl contest is finally over.  The two winning fan-made commercials were:

Middle Seat by Scott Zabielski:

and When Pigs Fly by Nelson Talbot:

Here’s what it looked like inside FritoLay’s private box at the Super Bowl when “Middle Seat” aired:

Click image to view
Click image to view

Man, there were a lot of good sports in that box.  And that includes Elizabeth Banks.  She didn’t try and squirm away when the winning director gave her a weirdly long hug.

I wasn’t surprised when Middle Seat aired but I really didn’t think When Pigs Fly would win.  Both commercials looked damn good and for some reason, When Pigs Fly just seemed more amusing on TV.  We’ll find out tomorrow morning which commercial was picked by the judges and which one won the online vote.  The ad picked by the judges will get $50,000 and the one picked by the fans will win a million bucks.  Middle Seat was the best and most professional finalist this year so I have a feeling the judges picked that one.  If I’m right, that means that When Pigs Fly will probably take home the grand prize.

UPDATE:  Ha.  Well I was wrong.  “Middle Seat” won the million dollars!

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-super-bowl-commercial-middle-seat-20150202-story.html